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Media must become voice of a billion, not just represent urban population

Here is a piece of advice from ex-Indian President Abdul Kalam to Indian media. The advice is equally applicable to Pakistanis media, which (dominated by right wingers and fake liberals) remains urban, middle-class centric and sesnational events-focused. Abdul Kalam’s advice that “Journalists must grow roots in every village” is particularly relevant to those Pakistani media persons (from both right wing and (fake) liberal camps) who can’t tell the Hazara Shias from Hazarajat and who don’t know if Parachinar is a part of Afghanistan or Balochistan.

Media must become voice of a billion, says Kalam

The Hindu Former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam plants a sapling at Bangalore Press Club. Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash

The former President APJ Abdul Kalam on Monday said that the media should “become the voice of a billion” and not just seek to represent the 300 million-strong urban population.

“Journalists must grow roots in every village,” Mr. Kalam said in his public lecture on “Indian Media and Challenges” at the Press Club of Bangalore.

“The media must be a partner in national development,” he said pointing to the glaring contradictions in the growth of the country. While India had made great progress in the space programme, 400 million people live below the poverty line, he added.

“The first loyalty of a journalist must be the people of the nation. Journalists must be independent of all groups, parties and organisations — something that is particularly important in a multicultural democracy of India,” he said.

Journalists must highlight success stories around the country such as initiatives in organic farming, Mr. Kalam said.

He called for a continuous “updating of knowledge” and added that there must be no room for sensationalism in journalism. Answering questions from his audience that comprised a fair number of journalists, he said that special courts must be established to counter official corruption.

Mr. Kalam said that he has professional similarities with the journalists — “I am a writer and have been editor of an e-paper.”

Source: The Hindu, October 18, 2011

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